Jul 15, 2016 | By Benedict

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched for HEERO, a remote monitoring and power-cutting tool for 3D printers and other devices. The clever system consists of a camera, base station, and smartphone app, enabling users to watch and control electrical devices (and everything else) in their home.

As all makers will know, one of the most satisfying experiences in 3D printing is starting a print, heading out for the day, then returning home to see the finished object in all its glory. On the other hand, coming home to a failed 3D print is one of the most frustrating experiences of maker life—wasted material, wasted time, and absolutely nothing to show for it. Because of this danger, many high-end 3D printers now come with cameras for remote print monitoring, usually enabling users to pause or abandon their print from a smartphone app. But what about other, more basic printers? You could Skype your 3D printer all day, or ask a friend to check on it, but for many that's simply not good enough.

Tim Mobbs, the brains behind Guzu Inventions, a startup based in Queensland, Australia, wanted to create a practical, affordable solution for 3D printing enthusiasts lacking remote monitoring capabilities. And while it would have been implausible to develop a system which could digitally control any model of 3D printer, Mobbs knew of one proven method for abandoning a failing 3D print: cutting the power! With Heero, Mobbs' handy electronic device, users can keep an eye on their 3D printer (or anything else they need to keep tabs on) in case it starts acting up. If there’s a problem with the print, the user can simply push a button on their smartphone to disconnect the power, stopping the print and preventing the loss of any more energy and material.

As well as providing much-needed remote control over 3D printers and other appliances, the Heero system also offers an extra aesthetic perk: “Heero will come to the rescue and empower you to see through his eyes in real time,” Mobbs explains. “With the push of a button you can stop your printer quickly, safely and without wasting power, material or time. Also, Heero can make even the most boring 3D printer look awesome thanks to the RGB LED’s built into his head.”

Although primarily marketed as a 3D printing tool, Heero can actually be used for a variety of tasks. The system enables a user to monitor their home for any reason—they can keep an eye on their pets, watch out for intruders, and even turn off the TV when the kids forget to. Moreover, the device isn’t just an electrical box; it’s a digital superhero! Heero’s cool 3D printable body transforms the gadget into a family friend, entertaining kids with its LED lights and enabling users to customize its appearance. And although 3D print monitoring is nothing new, it is perhaps this “character” element of the gadget which sets it apart from other monitoring systems like OctoPrint.

Guzu has set a fairly substantial goal of $97,000AUD ($74,000USD) for its Kickstarter campaign, but hopes to entice customers with early bird rewards: backers who pledge $49AUD ($37USD) can secure themselves one Heero kit. The startup is able to ship anywhere in the world, with the first batch of deliveries expected in November 2016.

Heero features and specs:

  • Wide-angle 720p camera
  • Remote stop function via app
  • Worldwide power control with up to 10 Amps current (110-240V to 10A)
  • Built-in RGB LEDs for illumination and ambiance
  • Built-in SD card slot for recording / time lapse
  • Button-style magnets for easy installation
  • Integrated accessory bracket

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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